Don’t let the kids have all the fun, ace Snapchat like a pro

Originally thought of as nothing more than a sexting app founded by college bros, Snapchat has risen to become the most active social media platform among users aged 13 to 25. According to Adweek, Snapchat currently touts an estimated 200 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users, which, after a mere four years of existence, puts it ahead of all of its competitors. And, a University of Michigan research found that Snappers feel happier than other social network users. It’s now valued at more than $15 billion, and serves as one of the premiere platforms for sending selfies, silly photos, videos, and messages. Publishers and brands, such as Vice, Buzzfeed, and McDonald’s, also use it to send branded content.

It’s easy to dismiss Snapchat as a child’s toy because it feels different than other messaging and social networking apps, but it can be fun to use. And, with major news organizations utilizing the platform as a new way to deliver news and information, Snapchat is starting to grow up (a little). If you want to understand this new mobile phenomenon and how to get your foot in the door, read on.

Related: Snapchat aims to be the all-in-one messaging platform of choice with Chat 2.0

Snapchat’s appeal is that it acts as a “dark” social network of sorts, essentially meaning that grandma can’t view and comment on every photo and video that is posted, especially given the content disappears after a set number of seconds. This makes a much more personal experience, as unlike Facebook or Instagram, you are not broadcasting your updates to the world, but rather to a very select group of friends.

Unlike other social networks, Snapchat is very intuitively designed and is intended to be as hassle-free as possible. When you open the app, the camera is automatically activated and then you can quickly snap a picture for your friends. You don’t have to dig through any menus or manage updates, likes, or comments – all you have to do is hit the record button and you are ready to go.

As a result, Snapchat has become one of the most popular social networks, especially among younger generations who appreciate the creative ways it does ephemeral messaging – it’s so popular that it has caught the attention of Facebook, which is experimenting with Snapchat-like features with its Facebook Messenger app (while, interestingly, Snapchat is trying to become more like Facebook, but that’s another story). With that in mind, here are nine tips you can use to use Snapchat in the best way possible.

Now that you have a general idea of how Snapchat works, here are some tips on how to maximize your experience.

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